Thursday, 18 March 2010
Opened in 1939 in Marianao, a suburb of Havana, the Tropicana cabaret still draws crowds to its elaborate shows. I don't think we'll be going there but for the next few weeks we'll be appreciating the many cultural, architectural, and culinary delights the Caribbean island has to offer, as well as the hospitality of the Cuban people. So see you after Easter!
Location: Lower Marsh / Picture taken on: 10/04/2008
Tuesday, 16 March 2010
Unfortunately, as I thought, the view from the street was partly obscured by the roof of the shop next door. Therefore the only way to get a picture of the whole sign was to get onto a double-decker bus. Obviously the first three buses that came were single-deckers. Then a 281 arrived but all the seats on the front row were taken. That meant another 8 minutes to wait. In the end another 281 with free seats by the front window appeared. By then I was the first one in the queue, and while a few elderly people slowly got on, I could take my photos. The dirty window and the vibrations from the bus didn't help to take a great picture but at least it was good enough to be able to read the lower part of the sign.
This is in fact a real palimpset, with three layers at least, and putting the different texts together isn't easy.
What seems to go definitely together is:
Then there is:
9. a.m. Til 8. p.m.
Day [or Bay]
Maybe I should have another look later. I'll keep you posted if I manage to get something else out of this sign.
Location: Broad Street / Picture taken on: 15/03/2010
Fading adverts for Bryant & May, the country's leading manufacturer of matches for more than a century, can be still seen in many places. These were painted after the Second World War. Their design is simple, the only 'extravagance' being the oval in which the company's name, in its shortened form, is written. It seems the company preferred to promote itself rather than the specific brands under which it sold its matches, be they Captain Webb, Puck or Swan Vestas (elaborate and colourful signs for the latter would certainly have been much more expensive to produce).
Save the Panels
As I have little time today I'll post more information about Bryant & May in a later post. After all, there is no lack of Brymay painted signs!
Location: Alpha Road / Pictures taken on: 23/07/2009
Monday, 15 March 2010
For a ghost sign, I have to walk down the High Street to reach this well-preserved example.
The Old Establd
Fishmongers & Poulterers
& Licensed Dealers in Game.
Location: Surrey Street, Litlehampton, West Sussex / Picture taken on: 11/04/2009
Friday, 12 March 2010
The upper sign is for the Caves Monmousseau (the Monmousseau Caves or Cellars), situated just to the west of Montrichard. In 1886 Alcide Monmousseau purchased an abandoned stone quarry and transformed it into one of France's largest wine cellars. You can learn more about the history of the company and their different types of wine by visiting their website (in English).
Direction Vierzon [*]
*: Vierzon is widely known in France and other French speaking countries thanks to Belgian singer Jacques Brel. It is the first town mentioned in Vesoul.
The sign in the middle reads:
... à droite [... street on the right]
As for the third sign, which was painted twice, it is for what used to be a well-known aperitive: Dubonnet. First sold in 1846, and still available today, it is made of fortified wine, spices, herbs, and quinine. It owes its fame largely to the posters designed by Cassandre (real name Adolphe Jean Marie Mouron). They first appeared in 1932 and featured the slogan "Dubo, Dubon, Dubonnet", which in French sounds like "Something nice, Something good, Dubonnet." In the 1950s and 1960s, commuters on the Paris métro could see the slogan expand as the trains made their way through the tunnels. An early version of those screens where the images move roughly at the same speed as the train (they haven't arrived on the London tube yet, but I saw plenty in Beijing).
Actually I've never tried any Dubonnet, so I can't tell you what it tastes like. There used to be a bottle in the aperitive cupboard at my grand parents' but I can't remember anyone ever drinking any. I shall check next time whether it is still there, hidden behind the more popular Sauternes, Pineau des Charentes, Martini, Whisky, or the homemade raspberry or peach liquors (my favourites as a kid...). As one of the characters created by writer Didier Daeninckx in Metropolice says: "everybody knew it, but nobody drank it."
As I took a closer look, I realized there was not only the name of the firm that painted the Dubonnet sign (Publicité Cheveau à Blois), but also a fouth sign there! Unfortunately it has almost completely disappeared but the letters 'Mon' could suggest this was an earlier sign for the Caves Monmousseau. Maybe?
Location: Route de Blois, Montrichard, Loir-et-Cher / Pictures taken on: 29/05/2009
Thursday, 11 March 2010
(in small black letters)
(in small black letters)
(in small pinkish letters)
... Building [?]
Something else was painted in small black letters and possibly in (now) pinkish ones.
There is definitely an 'S' and a 'A' here, with something in between. Looking at lists of old car manufacturers, one that could possible fit is 'Spartan', but it seems this US car maker produced vehicles for a very short time only c 1910.
On the first sign, Essex certainly doesn't refer to the English county but rather to the Essex cars manufactured first by the Essex Motor Company (1918-1922) and then by the Hudson Motor Company (1922-1932).
Location: Landor Road / Pictures taken on: 10/10/2008
In 1882 brothers Robert Hawley and Charles Henry Ingersoll launched a mail order business based in New York City. Ten years later they began supplying watches and in 1896 they introduced the 'Yankee', priced at US$1. In 1904 Ingersoll opened a store in London and set up a subsidiary company. Originally parts were imported from the US and assembled here, but it was decided later to manufacture watches for the UK market entirely at the new factory, near Angel tube station. In the US Ingersoll collapsed during the recession that followed the First World War but in the UK the company managed to survive. It had its headquarters at the appropriately-named Ingersoll House at 7-9 Kingsway, and it is at the back of that particular building that the sign below can be seen.
After the Second World War Ingersoll joined forces with Smiths Industries Ltd and, temporarily, Vickers Armstrong to form the Anglo-Celtic Watch Company Ltd, which opened a brand new factory in Ystradgynlais near Swansea. In 1969 Ingersoll pulled out of the venture.
4 Kean Street
Even though I had walked along Kean Street on countless occasions before 2008, I had failed to notice this sign. Then one day I had a last look at the back of Crown House next door, which was about to be demolished, and spotted it.
Location: Kean Street / Picture taken on: 08/10/2008
Monday, 8 March 2010
Unfortunately whatever else was written has now completely faded.
Location: Chapel Street, Guildford, Surrey / Picture taken: 07/03/2010
Friday, 5 March 2010
The familiar slogan must have been painted at some time after 1955, the year Barclay, Perkins & Co. merged with its London rival Courage.
Much has been written over the past two centuries about the brewery. For a short history you can refer to Chapter 9 of Survey of London. Vol. 22 edited by Sir Howard Roberts and Walter H. Godfrey and published in 1950. Edward Walford wrote a longer account of the development of the brewery in 1878 in Old and New London (Vo. 6) (the part about the brewery starts about one third down the page). Much information can also be found by checking the articles about the different owners of the brewery on the website Thrale.com.
The brewery closed in 1981 and the land was subsequently sold for redevelopment. The Anchor (sadly over-redeveloped) and this painted sign are two of the few reminders of what used to be a major industrial site in the heart of London.
Location: Park Street / Pictures taken on: 10/04/2008 and 25/03/2008
The most recent sign was painted in the lower part of that wall and is fairly easy to read:
Then there are those giant letters:
That could make sense but 'Motors' is written differently. No perspective and a smaller font, so it may not go with the rest.
A close look reveals that 'Kay's' was painted over what looks like
As for those words written in red on top of everything else and in the lower part of the wall they read:
Jotale... [whatever that could be]
These words may actually go with the 'Stadium' part above. Indeed if it is 'Wimbledon Stadium' that is written, then it could refer to the greyhound races that have been staged there since 1928.
Finally it looks as if there could be a few more letters here and there. If you have any suggestion, don't hesitate to leave a comment.
Location: Norwood High Street / Picture taken on: 01/03/2010
Thursday, 4 March 2010
Dressmaking & Millinery
Orders Promptly Executed
At the Shortest Notice
There is another sign (maybe more) but apart from
Location: Tooting High Street / Picture taken on: 07/03/2008
Tuesday, 2 March 2010
Location: Portland Road / Picture taken on: 17/06/2008
Actually there are at least two adverts for the Irish stout. The older one included the slogan:
As for the more recent sign, which ends with the classic
Is Good For you
Location: Balham High Road / Picture taken on: 01/03/2010
There are clearly several signs painted here and it is hard to tell which parts go together.
... mum ever
Location: Balham High Road / Picture taken on: 07/03/2008